June is always a colourful month. Pride events and parades paint countries across the globe in their vibrant rainbows. Through pride, people acknowledge and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ society, spread awareness, and advocate for further reform. As a student of International Studies in Bangalore (India), I had the pleasure of being part of the pride parade held in June 2019, the last parade before COVID-19 hit the world, and it was a delightfully eye-opening experience. I had a few questions though.
This was my first question. It sounded strange and somehow apt but it still made me wonder. Brenda Howard was an American bisexual woman who organised the first pride march in 1970 and is known as the “mother of Pride”. However, the founders’ reasoning for calling it pride is still unknown.
Why the rainbow?
It is said that the first rainbow flag was designed by an artist called Gilbert Baker, a gay man, on the request of his friend, Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician in California. The first rainbow flag was flown at the pride parade in San Francisco in 1978. Each colour represents something; red for life, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, violet for spirit, turquoise for magic, orange for healing, blue for serenity, and pink for sex, according to Baker’s website.
Pride month is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots that occurred on June 28, 1969 in New York City. The riots began after several members of the LGBTQIA+ community resisted a police raid at Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Lower Manhattan. It led to an uprising that gave life to a movement that slowly spread across the globe. The first pride march was held in New York City on June 28, 1970. Since then, annual pride parades have begun across the world.
What are the Biggest Events?
1. The Annual NYC Pride Parade
New York City is known for having the largest pride celebrations. In 2019, WorldPride events were held in NYC, and were attended by over 5 million people, marking 50 years of the riot at Stonewall. The annual parade will be held on Sunday, June 26. The march will start at noon with marchers crossing Christopher Street, and Stonewall Inn, now also known as Stonewall National Monument. The AIDS New York City Memorial is also a remarkable stop of the parade.
2. Pride Live at Stonewall
After the events of 1969, the inn became a historic site representing the fight against the hate and discrimination faced by the people of the LGBTQIA+ community. Every year, various pride events are held there to celebrate their proud history. This year, on June 24, Pride Live will be held outside the iconic Stonewall Inn with performances by Kesha, Shea Diamond, Milk Davis, and queer indie pop band Betty along with recorded messages from Barack Obama, among others.
On 12 June 2016, in his acceptance speech at the Tony Awards, Lin Manuel Miranda referenced the brutal shooting incident at a gay nightclub in Orlando on that very day.
“We chase the melodies that seem to find us
Until they’re finished songs and start to play
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day.
This show is proof that history remembers
We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”
Pride marches represent, and serve as a reminder of what the LTBTQIA+ community has lived through, and continues to live through. His poem ended with the line “Now fill the world with music, love, and pride”.
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